Campus Crime and Victimization: Implications for Institutions of Higher Education

Campus Crime and Victimization: Implications for Institutions of Higher Education

Cari L. Keller (Northeastern State University, USA) and Amy L. Proctor (Northeastern State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2410-7.ch008
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Abstract

Federal law requires colleges and universities to annually report their crime statistics. Case law further defines what liability these institutions face for failing to adequately and promptly respond to student victimization. Administrators and campus law enforcement should be aware of the factors associated with student victimization and the context in which it takes place. There are several theories found in the criminological literature that can inform these stakeholders. Furthermore, there are specific community policing programs that campus law enforcement can implement to help prevent student victimization within a harm-reduction framework. This chapter discusses crime and victimization on campus, federal reporting requirements, theories of student victimization, and related policy implications for institutions of higher education.
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Federal Requirements

Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act (The Clery Act)

In 1986, a 19-year-old college student, Jeanne Ann Clery, was raped and murdered in her dorm room by a fellow student. Media attention surrounding the crime of a young woman, in a seemingly safe location, put a spotlight on safety issues on college and university campuses. Colleges and universities experienced an increase in lawsuits brought by injured victims of on-campus crime, with plaintiffs experiencing successful verdicts and monetary awards (Fisher & Sloan, 2007). Clery’s parents were among those successful plaintiffs. Through litigation discovery, they learned of multiple violent crimes that had recently occurred on the Lehigh University campus but had not been published and made available to the student body. With the proceeds from the lawsuit, they formed a nonprofit advocacy group for campus safety. Ms. Clery’s parents successfully lobbied Congress to draft the Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990. It was later renamed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (The Clery Act) and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 (Carter & Bath, 2007).

The Clery Act mandates that colleges and universities eligible to receive Title IV financial aid funding annually disclose certain crimes that occur on campus property, on off-campus property leased or owned by the institution, or on property adjacent to, or traveling through, the campus. The crimes include the following: criminal homicide, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, and hate crimes. Institutions must also disclose liquor and drug law violations, as well as illegal weapons possession if the incidents resulted in an arrest or campus disciplinary proceeding. The Clery Act also requires disclosure of a public crime log and the implementation of a warning system for ongoing public safety threats (20 U.S.C. §1092(f)).

Title II of the Act is titled, Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act. This section of the Act requires institutions of higher education (IHE) receiving student aid under Title IV primarily,

… to declare that certain privacy rights shall not be construed to prohibit an institution of post-secondary education from disclosing to an alleged victim of a violent crime the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against the crime’s alleged perpetrator with respect to such crime.1

It further requires institutions to publish annual reports to current students, employees, and any applicant for enrollment or employment (if they make such a request) containing campus crime statistics, campus security policies, and any crimes reported to local law enforcement authorities. The Act includes all satellite campuses, schools, or administrative offices, “if they are not within a reasonably contiguous area of the main institution” (20 U.S.C. §1092(f)). Finally, it requires the Secretary of Education to report findings of crime statistics and campus safety policies to specific committees in the United States Congress annually.

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